Though easy to assume, no, Superhot VR isn’t a simple VR re-pack of the unique indie shooter. It’s more of a sequel (or at least a spin-off) set in the same strange universe albeit with an overriding focus on virtual reality, but while it should provide the ultimate power fantasy, there are issues with Sony’s VR tech holding it back.
As in Superhot, time only moves when you move. It’s a delightfully simple concept in which every gunshot can be traced frame-by-frame, creating this playable montage of Matrix-esque set pieces. With every slight movement of your head or hands, time moves forward by the smallest fraction. In those first opening levels, Superhot VR will make you feel like The One.
Gently turning your head, watching bullets casually cruise past, can be intoxicating as you pretend to be in the midst of a high octane gunfight. Mowing down enemies with guns, projectiles, and melee weapons can be equally as satisfying, especially when you nail them from a distance. There are even cooler moments to be had, such as slicing bullets in half with a combat knife or deflecting them with your own gun. Needless to say, there’s plenty of room for death-defying experimentation.
One major difference is how Superhot VR roots you to the spot, disabling any movement beyond your playing area. It’s a necessary design choice and one that keeps the action focused. That said, there is still plenty of room for manoeuvring as you weave through a barrage of bullets and occasionally seek cover.
This is one of many PlayStation VR experiences that will require two PlayStation Move controllers – it simply wouldn’t work with a DualShock 4. Using both hands, you’ll pick up a selection of objects from throwing stars to frying pans. The motion tracking is one-to-one and for the most part works well, but as I progressed and the levels became more complex, I continued to run into problems.
At times, the game would fail to register where my controllers were positioned. In game, my avatar’s hands would occasionally drift to one side or momentarily lose sync, making it almost unplayable. Even after adjusting the PlayStation Camera and fiddling with various controller and other settings, these problems persisted. It’s worth noting that I’ve had no such problems playing other PlayStation VR game including shooters such as Farpoint and Arizona Sunshine.
It’s even more annoying in Superhot, however, given that even the slightest movement can push time forward and result in failure. Although each of the game’s 18 stages are small in size (each one containing a cluster of gunfights) there are no checkpoints between these mini scenarios. So, if one of you motion controllers suddenly goes haywire during the last encounter, you’ll have to start over. It can become infuriating and, in turn, will create discomfort when strapped into a virtual reality headset.
In other words, Superhot VR isn’t as well optimised for PlayStation VR as we had hoped. The limitations of both the headset and camera are clearly present, especially the latter. Unless you have oodles of space in which to set up, the PlayStation Camera will only be able to see part of your body when reaching and ducking. Even then, it will still fail to track the motion controllers from time to time. While we didn’t test on Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, we’d expect those systems tracking solutions to be more robust.
Superhot VR should be the ultimate power fantasy. Being able to juggle four pistols, firing each one off while dodging a hail of bullets is just one of the many stunning set pieces I’ve relished in. However, when one cog in the machine gets caught, that absolute immersion slips away. If optimised better and with slightly reworked levels, this would be a PlayStation VR essential. As it stands, Superhot VR is still good though too inconsistent.
Version Tested: PS4, PSVR